Nicaragua gained league-wide recognition in 1976 when All-Star pitcher Dennis Martínez, dubbed “El Presidente,” broke onto the scene with the Baltimore Orioles, becoming the first big-league player from this Central American country. With 245 victories, four All-Star game appearances and a perfect game on his resume, Martínez is the most recognized Nicaraguan player.
Since then, fans from Nicaragua have followed reliable ballplayers ranging from the likes of San Francisco Giants outfielder Marvin Bernard to the New York Yankees' hard-throwing reliever Jonathan Loáisiga. Although Nicaragua has produced only 15 major leaguers, the country’s interest in the sport is sure to generate more players to come.
Born in Managua, Nicaragua, Jonathan Loáisiga grew up in a family with a passion for baseball. His grandfather was an accomplished pitcher in Nicaragua, his father played in the Montreal Expos' minor league system and his brother Mike was an infielder in the Los Dodgers' organization. Loaisiga idolized fellow countryman Dennis Martínez as a boy before signing with the San Francisco Giants as an international free agent at age 17. He struggled with injuries before the Giants released him in 2015. In February 2016, Loáisiga signed a minor-league deal with the New York Yankees and made his major- league debut two years later.
At age 25, Loáisiga has emerged as a valuable bullpen piece for New York. Nicaragua has a modest but proud baseball history, and with Loáisiga as the new face of Nicaraguan baseball, its influence will continue to grow.